When I saw headlines about the Vogue cover with "diverse" models, representing a "powerful" moment, one strong enough to "break the internet,"I was stoked. I was prepared to be blown away and to find myself in a new era of beauty and inclusion... But that's where my optimism stopped. I can't understand why having a diverse group of women dressed the same and huddled together is revolutionary?
We have seven fantastic looking models gathered together, and I am supposed to feel inspired? As a woman of color if something is innovative or diverse then I feel I should feel something more than "eh." I don't even really find the cover alluring. I want to call it pretty, beautiful even but artistically I can't wrap my mind around it. I mean have we got to the point where checking ethnicity boxes off while styling and probably editing an image to appear as if all the women are one standard unit, with one standard size really what we're calling diversity?
Source: Vogue Magazine on Twitter
I'm not mad at Vogue, the brand has always been about being aspirational, not relatable — that's why its such a slap in the face for them to still represent the former but be applauded as the latter. I'm tired of media exalting fashion magazines for choosing models that are slightly different than the status quo. That is not diversity that is not inclusion.
It's important to acknowledge that as little as ten years ago, it is hard to find anyone on a magazine cover that wasn't thin, white, and beautiful. In some ways, the industry has made tremendous strides — in 2000 even 2007, perhaps, this cover would have been unprecedented. In 2017, it feels pretty average. Still, this can't be our stopping point. We still have a long way to go, and for our part, there's no way to control the editorial decisions that go into producing a cover like the one Vogue just released.
What we can control, however, is how we react to it. It's okay to just see this cover as a lovely picture. Not everything has to be about power and inclusion. Don't settle for a major publication half-assing an attempt to join the revolution. There are so many stories that push boundaries and break molds that are worth all those "powerful" headlines.
Demand content that doesn't need headlines to be considered revolutionary.